Founding trustees of town’s windmill project say farewell as new chairman is announced

Former trustees Brian and Alison Webb with Biscuit the carnival mascot in 2018. Byline: Sonya Duncan

Former trustees Brian and Alison Webb with Biscuit the carnival mascot in 2018. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A larger than usual turnout arrived to bid Dereham Windmill's founding trustees farewell.

During the gathering of its latest annual meeting, held at the mid-Norfolk landmark's coffee shop, members and attendees said goodbye to Brian and Alison Webb, who recently stood down after eight years of service to the cause.

The pair were instrumental in its rejuvenation, which to date has seen more than £400,000 raised towards its restoration and reopening.

At the meeting, Alan Ferguson, who had been vice chair of the trustees, was appointed chairman and will be taking over the role from Mr Webb.

Speaking about the pair, Mr Ferguson said: 'They transformed a derelict mill into a thriving community asset.

'Let's be in no doubt the mill and coffee shop would not be here today - open to the public and in marvellous condition - without Brian and Alison.

'After our unsuccessful heritage lottery bid over a decade ago, the windmill was in a sorry state. But Alison and Brian had the vision to see that the windmill could be a vibrant community asset and, more importantly, the energy to make it happen.

'They raised well over £150,000 to renovate the windmill and build the coffee shop. They ran a series of events including the Easter egg hunts, teddy bear zip wires and Santa's Grotto, to name just the higher profile ones; events that established Dereham Windmill in the public's imagination. And they worked with a new band of trustees to build a team of volunteers who would open the windmill and coffee shop at weekends.

'They have put in an immense amount of time and energy over eight years and thoroughly deserve a rest.'

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It was also announced at this month's meeting that Sheila Goldsmith would be stepping down as a trustee.

Mr Ferguson added: 'She's done a huge amount for the mill over the years including helping set up the coffee shop, the 50/50 draw, events, wrapping xmas presents and much else.

'We're very grateful for all her efforts.'

Flowers were presented to her husband Clive, as she was unable to attend the meeting.

A large bouquet was also presented to Mrs Webb, who stepped down from her role as head of fundraising, and a malt whisky to Mr Webb.